William Blair Research Analysts Lift Earnings Estimates for Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX)

Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) – Research analysts at William Blair increased their Q1 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. William Blair analyst A. Murphy now forecasts that the medical research company will post earnings of $1.41 per share for the quarter, up from their prior estimate of $1.25. William Blair also issued estimates for Quest Diagnostics’ Q2 2018 earnings at $1.80 EPS, Q3 2018 earnings at $1.73 EPS, Q4 2018 earnings at $1.68 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $6.61 EPS, Q1 2019 earnings at $1.55 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $6.82 EPS.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The medical research company reported $1.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.37 by $0.03. Quest Diagnostics had a net margin of 10.00% and a return on equity of 15.41%. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.31 earnings per share. Quest Diagnostics’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis.

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Craig Hallum reissued a “hold” rating and set a $100.00 target price (down from $110.00) on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating and set a $110.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. SunTrust Banks set a $105.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 15th. Mizuho set a $103.00 target price on shares of Quest Diagnostics and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a research report on Monday, January 29th. They set a “buy” rating and a $117.00 target price on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $107.40.

Shares of Quest Diagnostics (DGX) opened at $100.47 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.24. Quest Diagnostics has a 52 week low of $90.10 and a 52 week high of $112.96. The stock has a market cap of $13,710.00, a P/E ratio of 18.27, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.84 and a beta of 0.67.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans raised its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 2.0% during the second quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 5,200 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $578,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares during the period. WFG Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 45.3% during the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 966 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $107,000 after purchasing an additional 301 shares during the period. Conning Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 5.1% during the fourth quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 10,583 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,042,000 after purchasing an additional 510 shares during the period. WINTON GROUP Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 1.3% during the second quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 38,710 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $4,303,000 after purchasing an additional 513 shares during the period. Finally, AMG Funds LLC raised its holdings in shares of Quest Diagnostics by 4.3% during the fourth quarter. AMG Funds LLC now owns 12,437 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,225,000 after purchasing an additional 516 shares during the period. 89.17% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In related news, EVP J. E. Davis sold 63,880 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.68, for a total value of $6,303,678.40. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 101,423 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,008,421.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Stephen H. Rusckowski sold 106,840 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.00, for a total transaction of $11,431,880.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 272,956 shares in the company, valued at $29,206,292. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 192,014 shares of company stock worth $19,950,134 over the last ninety days. 1.75% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, April 18th. Investors of record on Wednesday, April 4th will be issued a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, April 3rd. This is a boost from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.99%. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.73%.

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About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a provider of diagnostic information services. The Company operates through two businesses: Diagnostic Information Services and Diagnostic Solutions. The Diagnostic Information Services business develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, providing insights that empower and enable a range of customers, including patients, clinicians, hospitals, integrated delivery networks (IDNs), health plans, employers and accountable care organizations (ACOs).

Earnings History and Estimates for Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)

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